Using Laptops at Meetings?

I don’t think I’ve ever used a laptop at a meeting.

Check that, I once took out my laptop, during an executive session, to get a jump on a story for the next day. But, that’s it. The executive session ended up being less than 10 minutes anyway.

I always have my pens and notebook ready to go. I’ve found that the cons significantly outweigh the pros, when it comes to trusting an electronic device with my notes.

Disclaimer: There is nothing wrong with using a laptop at a meeting. Personally, I find it cumbersome and I certainly think it provides an easy way for others to see what my notes are. Granted, I’m not making anything up, but my notes are my notes. If I wanted to share with someone I’ll do it on my terms.

I cannot see myself being comfortable even trying to use a laptop effectively.

The chairs that are provided for these meetings aren’t “lecture ready.” They are either folding chairs or an upgrade of them. There is very little room to move around quietly, never mind having a laptop with you.

When I first started at the ChronicleI would bring my entire bag to each meeting. That didn’t last long, once I realized I didn’t want people snooping in my stuff. Besides that, there, again, wasn’t much room to have more than a notebook and some pens. Even in the winter time, I find myself searching for places to put my jacket after a snowstorm. It’s pretty limited, at times.

As for laptops, Chromebooks, or netbooks, I just don’t want to take the risk. I’m sure it works great, possibly even better than handwriting notes, but it’s just not for me. There are just too many “what ifs” going on that I certainly wouldn’t look to take that risk.

What if my battery dies during a meeting? What if I drop it and I lose my notes?

Unlike a laptop, handwriting notes is quiet, simple and everyone can do it. It’s also inexpensive and reliable.

Without using my laptop, I know that I’m putting myself in a better position to get better notes and avoid any crazy situations that could arise.

Would people take me more or less seriously if I had a laptop at every meeting? I have no idea.

Do you use a laptop for meetings? Any tips or suggestions to avoid the situations I addressed in my post?

Jonathan

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